Chinese New Year 2012: Final Countdown to Year of the Dragon

Chinese New Year 2012 will be celebrated on Monday, Jan. 23, marking the beginning of the year of the water dragon and the 4709th year of the Chinese calendar. The holiday is the most important in China and will be met with scores of fireworks and festivities in China, Taiwan and across the globe.

Visitors take pictures in front of a dragon-shaped lantern which has been set up for the upcoming Lunar New Year in Beijing. The Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, begins on Jan. 23 and marks the start of the Year of the Dragon, according to the Chinese zodiac. (REUTERS/China Daily)

Bengali White Tiger cubs, dressed in traditional Chinese clothes for the upcoming Spring Festival, are seen eating inside their cage at a zoo in Qingdao, Shandong province. The Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, begins on Jan. 23 and marks the start of the Year of the Dragon, according to the Chinese zodiac. (REUTERS/China Daily)

Divers perform a dragon dance during an event to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year at an aquarium in Beijing on Jan. 5, 2012. The Lunar New Year begins on Jan. 23 and marks the start of the Year of the Dragon, according to the Chinese zodiac. (REUTERS/China Daily)

A vendor stands inside her shop selling Chinese New Year products at a market in downtown Shanghai on Jan. 16, 2012. The Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, begins on Jan. 23 and marks the start of the Year of the Dragon. (REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

Workers decorate a dragon-shaped sculpture in preparation for a dragon dance which will involve more than 200 people during the upcoming Chinese New Year in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province. (Reuters)

A woman walks past red lantern decorations for the upcoming temple fair at an entrance of Longtan park in Beijing. The Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, begins on Jan. 23 and marks the start of the Year of the Dragon, according to the Chinese zodiac. The Longtan Temple Fair starts Jan. 22, and continue until Jan. 29. (REUTERS/Zheyang SooHoo)

A woman walks past red lanterns, which were put up as decoration for an upcoming temple fair, at an entrance of Longtan park in Beijing.The Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, begins on Jan. 23 and marks the start of the Year of the Dragon, according to the Chinese zodiac. The Longtan Temple Fair will take place from Jan. 22 to 29. (REUTERS/Zheyang SooHoo)

A craftsman paints lantern parts in the shape of the head of the bodhisattva Guanyin, for a lantern festival to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year, at a workshop in Suining, Sichuan. The Lunar New Year, or the Spring Festival, begins on Jan. 23 and marks the start of the year of dragon. (Reuters)

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